With so much competition in the healthcare industry, medical practices are constantly looking for new ways to attract and retain patients.
For this reason, many clinics utilize loyalty programs, once only used by retailers.
If you’re unsure what the most effective patient loyalty programs are and how a patient loyalty program could benefit your business, we’re here to tell you all about it!
In this article, we will cover:
- What Is a Patient Loyalty Program?
- Benefits of Patient Loyalty Programs
- 6 Effective Patient Loyalty Program (for Hospitals & Clinics)
So, let’s dive right in.
What Is a Patient Loyalty Program?
Similar to a customer loyalty program, a patient loyalty program is a marketing strategy that rewards patients for their commitment and ongoing engagement with your medical practice.
Although the primary goal of a patient loyalty program is to increase patient retention by providing your existing patients with rewards (for example, discounts and special offers), it can also help you attract new patients to your medical practice.
That said, having a patient loyalty program in place doesn’t simply mean you’re offering your healthcare services at a discounted price.
When implemented correctly, a patient loyalty program can give you important information about your patients and services, such as the type of service that appeals the most to a specific group of patients.
Learn more about actual preferences of your patients and make right decisions via Management Reporting Module at Medesk.Learn more >>
For this reason, a patient loyalty program allows you to provide personalized rewards and offers to your customers, which can improve the patient experience on top of helping you retain patients.
10 Benefits of Patient Loyalty Programs
Having an effective patient loyalty program in place benefits medical practices for several reasons, including:
- Improves patient retention. A well-designed patient loyalty program shows your patients that you value them, which makes them more likely to return to your medical practice. This, in turn, increases your revenue and helps you to maintain a stable patient base.
- Boosts patient engagement. A patient loyalty program boosts your patient engagement by making your patients feel more connected and involved with your medical practice. Because of this, having a patient loyalty program can improve patient satisfaction and treatment outcomes.
- Increases patient satisfaction. By rewarding patient loyalty and ongoing engagement with your medical practice, patient loyalty programs increase patient satisfaction. For this reason, a patient loyalty program can enhance the overall patient experience in your medical practice.
- Encourages referrals. Since patient loyalty programs increase patient satisfaction, your patients may be more likely to recommend your healthcare services to family and friends. As such, a patient loyalty program helps to both retain existing patients and acquire new ones.
- Increases revenue. Patient loyalty programs increase your revenue by expanding your patient base and increasing the number of repeat visits. Not only that, but having a patient loyalty program also helps you to increase additional service sales by providing your patients with customized offers and deals.
- Supports business growth. A patient loyalty program can help you sell additional services and obtain new patients, thus bringing more profitability to your medical practice. For this reason, having a patient loyalty program helps to support and speed up your medical practice’s growth.
- Builds a good reputation. Besides increasing patient satisfaction and bringing more referrals, having a patient loyalty program shows that your medical practice is focused on providing your patients with an excellent patient care experience. As such, this can help you build and improve your reputation, which can effectively attract new patients.
- Raises brand awareness. An effective patient loyalty program helps to spread the word about your medical practice, thus raising your brand awareness. For this reason, patient loyalty programs allow more potential patients to know about your healthcare services.
- Lowers patient acquisition expenses. By encouraging referrals, building your reputation, and raising brand awareness, a patient loyalty program can help you acquire more patients. As such, patient loyalty programs can help you save money on patient acquisition.
- Gives good ROI. Having a patient loyalty program in place encourages business growth, attracts more patients to your clinic, and enhances your medical practice in general. As such, a well-implemented patient loyalty program provides a good return on investment (ROI).
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6 Effective Patient Loyalty Programs (for Hospitals & Clinics)
Here are the 6 most effective patient loyalty programs that you should consider to improve your medical practice:
#1. VIP Patient Loyalty Program
If you’re looking to make your most loyal patients feel really special, you might want to offer them to join a VIP patient loyalty program.
The purpose of a VIP patient loyalty program is to reward the patients that use your healthcare services most frequently with exclusive benefits.
Some of the VIP benefits can include:
- VIP discounts at your pharmacy or gift shop
- Free parking
- Free health screenings
- Tickets to exclusive events
Depending on your practice’s needs, services, and patient base, you can either use a basic VIP patient loyalty program or develop a multi-tier program to maximize patient engagement.
Whichever patient loyalty VIP program you choose, one thing is for certain - rewarding your patients for their continuous relationship with your medical practice can greatly increase patient loyalty and retention.
#2. Co-branded Patient Loyalty Program
Simply put, a co-branded patient loyalty program refers to collaborating with local businesses to reward your patients with special deals, discounts, and offers for their loyalty.
This allows you to both increase patient retention and satisfaction as well as to raise awareness about your healthcare services in the local community.
For example, a psychologist could partner with local gyms, art and music studios, and other local businesses to provide loyal patients with special discounts for activities that support their mental wellbeing.
Or, if you’re a physiotherapist, you can collaborate with local gyms and pools. By offering your patients discounts, you can encourage them to be physically active, which can enhance their treatment outcomes.
Similarly, bariatric physicians can work with local gyms, pools, and restaurants that offer healthy and nutritious meals to help patients lose and maintain their optimal weight.
#3. Event Invitations
If you’re looking for a unique way to reward your patients for their loyalty, a patient loyalty program that focuses on invitations to social and educational events may just be the right option for your medical practice.
You can organize and invite your patients to a variety of events, such as educational seminars, webinars, wellness workshops, marathons, and children’s competitions.
By inviting your patients to participate in health-related events, you can create a sense of community. This, in turn, can increase patient engagement and raise awareness on healthcare topics.
Not to mention, events focused on health, wellness, and fitness promotion can also improve your patient's health by helping them to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
#4. Cumulative Patient Loyalty Program
With a cumulative patient loyalty program, you’re essentially providing your patients with a discount based on the total amount they have spent on your healthcare services over time.
So, for example, if a patient has paid a total of $300, they could receive a permanent 2% discount. Afterward, the same patient may receive a 1% discount for each $200 they spend in your clinic, with a discount upper limit of 10%.
Alternatively, by using a cumulative patient loyalty program, you could offer each fifth or tenth procedure to your patients for free. This works especially well for long-term treatments that require multiple visits, such as laser nail fungus treatments or dental implant restorations.
#5. Point-based Patient Loyalty Program
With a point-based loyalty program, you reward patients with points for performing specific actions or achieving goals.
For example, you can reward your patients with points for:
- Making a purchase in your pharmacy
- Following your social media pages
- Leaving a review for your medical practice
- Receiving a specific healthcare treatment
- Losing a percent of body fat
- Attending a healthcare webinar, etc.
Later, your patients can exchange the collected points for discounts on treatments, free procedures, and more, depending on the type of healthcare services you offer.
Essentially, rewarding your patients for specific actions allows you to promote healthy habits, increase your brand awareness, generate more revenue, and increase patient retention through gamification.
#6. Multi-level Patient Loyalty Program
A multi-level patient loyalty program essentially uses elements of several patient loyalty programs at once.
As such, it allows you to offer multiple levels of privileges that differ from level to level. For example, your multi-level patient loyalty program may look something like this:
- Level 1: invitations to webinars.
- Level 2: level 1 reward + 10% monthly subscription discount in the local gym.
- Level 3: level 1 and level 2 rewards + each tenth procedure free of charge.
On the downside, although multi-level patient loyalty programs are versatile, easily personalized, and unique, it may be quite difficult to track the effectiveness of such patient loyalty programs, as it consists of different elements.
And that’s all you should know about the most effective patient loyalty programs and their benefits.
Before you go, though, let’s quickly recap the key points mentioned in this article:
- Medical practices can use a patient loyalty program to reward and increase patient commitment.
- A well-designed patient loyalty program can help you to improve patient retention and patient acquisition.
- Among other benefits, patient loyalty programs can increase patient engagement, revenue, brand awareness, and patient satisfaction.
- The most effective patient loyalty programs include the VIP, co-branded, cumulative, and point-based patient loyalty programs as well as event invitations.
- A multi-level patient loyalty program offers a ton of flexibility and customization, but it can be difficult to track its effectiveness.